Michael Totten has a glowing report from Kurdistan. He writes about the prospects for Kurdish independence:

Three major obstacles to independence remain. The first is Iraqi Kurdistan’s relationship with Turkey. That relationship is bad but improving despite the Turkish military’s well-publicized threats to invade Northern Iraq to eject the (Turkish) Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the PKK, from using Iraqi soil to launch attacks against military and civilian targets in Turkey. Relations between the (Iraqi) Kurdistan Regional Government and the Turkish government have quietly improved at the same time. Iraq’s Kurds genuinely want a civil relationship with Turkey because they can’t safely declare independence without it.

The Turks fear nothing more than Turkish Kurdistan declaring itself independent and attaching itself to a free Iraqi Kurdistan. A bitter civil war is still simmering in Turkey between the PKK and the Turkish state. Ethnic Kurds make up almost 25 percent of Turkey’s population. If they leave and take their land with them, the Turks will lose a huge amount of the eastern part of their country. A truly independent Kurdish state in Iraq would likely embolden Kurdish militants in Turkey – or so the Turks fear.

Iraqi Kurdistan is land-locked and surrounded on all sides by hostile people and states. They cannot survive on their own without first building a physical infrastructure that will allow them to survive border blockades as well as military invasions.

If the surge fails and Sunnis and Shi’ites prove unable to reconcile their differences peacefully, then the US can withdraw to a massive, truly massive, military base in an independent Kurdistan. That would guarantee the security of our only true friends in Iraq. It would also give the US the ability to keep control over all the bad guys in the region through spies, surveillance, raids, sabotage, dirty tricks, assassinations, cruise missiles, F16s, F22s, B1s, B2s, Navy Seals, Patriot Missiles, missile shields, jamming equipment, propaganda outlets, etc. etc. It would also put a lot of pressure on our former friends, the Turks. It would also put pressure on Iran, a country with its own ethnic minorities unhappy at Persian dictatorship.

Such a “retreat” would leave the US in a powerful position in the Middle East; control of the Persian gulf through naval power and control over land through a massive military base. It would also set an example for the Arabs. Be like the Kurds.